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August 23rd, 2010

Pricing – How to Factor for YOU in Your Costs

Posted by Michelle Loretta

I don’t care if you’ve been in business for 2 months or 20 years; this is something that is always of concern to small business owners.  And, for those people who feel comfortable in their pricing, it is a short-lived comfort.  Pricing must always be examined and re-examined.

Photo courtesy of Laurel McConnell Photography

Are you priced appropriately?

Take a look at the following factors and consider how they impact your pricing:

  • the median price of photography in your region and target market
  • your specialty, your niche
  • the value that you bring to the client
  • your education, your experience, and your on-going training
  • your artistry and talent

But, in the photography world there is one major component of pricing that is often forgotten: YOU. What about your TIME, your LABOR?

Let’s think of it this way: hypothetically speaking… if you had to replace yourself as lead photographer of an event, what would you be expected to pay the photographer you hired?  What is the going rate for an hourly photographer of your skill set?  Shouldn’t this hourly rate be part of your cost component?  Shouldn’t this be a factor in your pricing?

So, if you do take the labor cost as a factor in your pricing, then you need to know how much time it TRULY takes to produce a job.  The perception to the client is that you are shooting an event for 8 hours.  However, there is a great deal of time before an after the shooting day spent on the client.  How much time does it really take to produce a job? When was the last time you tracked this?

These 2 cost components: cost of labor, and labor hours are huge factors in how you establish pricing.  But, they can’t stand alone.  You can’t solely factor in your costs when setting prices.  When photographers only consider cost of labor, this leads to under-pricing and undercutting of the competition.  As stated before, market factors, your niche, the value and artistry of your work, and your education and experience all play into this magical pricing equation.

So what happens when you find that pricing sweet spot?  You go for it!  But don’t forget to examine and reexamine every 6-12 months.  Adjust and readjust to account for changes to the industry, your market, and your business.  Complacency has no place in the pricing of your services.

Want to learn more?  Visit Sage Wedding Pros for more on pricing in the wedding and event industries.


  1. August 24th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Livebooks Resolve Blog Feature: Photography Pricing » Sage Wedding Pros

    […] Pricing: How to Factor for YOU […]

  2. November 15th, 2010 at 2:28 pm


    It seems when you find your pricing sweet spot you end up buying new gear, increasing your photo quality and so on. Being a Maui photographers I have went through many price increases do to customer feedback saying, “You are so reasonably priced”. For me, those are often ‘the magic words’ to increase pricing to decrease work flow and make the same amount of money.

    Aloha! Thanks for the great post you are right on the money :)

  3. December 16th, 2010 at 10:05 pm


    What about cost of doing business (CODB)? There is no way to determine pricing without first knowing what your bottom-line is.

  4. March 6th, 2011 at 7:45 pm


    TIM you are also correct… CODB is important. Otherwise you can end up loosing more than what you think you gain. I am here currently re-evaluating my business plan and to-do list. And the first thing I came across are my expenses and cost of doing business.

  5. March 7th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Michelle Loretta

    CODB is a must in determining what you have to do in sales in order to be profitable. The formula should be as such:

    Sales – Cost of Services/Goods = Profit Margin

    Profit Margin – CODB = Net Profit or Loss

    CODB doesn’t drive price. Cost of Services/Goods (COGS) drives price – along with the listed factors. CODB is your overhead / admin… the cost of doing business… those costs need to be supported by profit margin. And, you need to ensure you have sufficient margin (high enough prices, low enough COGS) to cover your CODB.

    For a calculator on doing this – and determining break-even and profitability… visit our downloads:

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